Human Activities

Human Activities is a research project, initiated by a Dutch artist Renzo Martens and developed at the KASK – School of Arts in Ghent. Human Activities‘ goal is to prove that artistic critique on economic inequality can bypass it not symbolically, but in material terms. Since 2014 Human Activities collaborates with the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC).

The collaboration operates from a former Unilever plantation, the ground zero of global economic inequality, where they built a fully equipped arts center, with at its heart a quintessential white cube.

At this very place, Human Activities wants to fully deal with the economic and industrial structures that sustain global economic segregation. The aim is that laborers otherwise trapped at the bottom rung of global value chains can take place at the center of debates around art and inequality, by developing a platform where their voices are heard, so that they will gain agency both in and outside of the art world. The arts center is dedicated to resolving the division between critical debates and their economic impact, and redress the current underlying inequalities.
Plantation workers who cannot earn a living from production labor live off of their artistic engagement with plantation labor. The center creates a local free zone for critical thought and artistic production that in its turn will have a positive impact on the livelihoods of local inhabitants.